Overpowering Insecurity – Thursday September 13th

Tom, Hazel and I sat in a diner one Saturday morning eating crepes and strawberries and trying desperately to ignore the people at the table next to us.  I think the woman was trying to win an award for the Most Annoying Human Ever and maybe she thought we were members of the secret board that bestows that honor.

First there were the loud questions, followed by strange, aggressively judgmental comments:

Example #1

Annoying Lady: “How old is your baby?”

Me: “Eight and a Half Months.”

AL: “Oh wow, she’s huge.”

Example #2

AL: “Does she eat solid foods now?”

Me: “Yes she eats anything we’re eating.”

AL: “Oh even crepes huh?  We don’t let Charlie eat that.” Followed by her shouting at Charlie’s face: “CHARLIE WANT SOME EGGIES?  CHARLIE? EGGIES?  CHARLIE?  EGGIES?  CHARLIE?”

Charlie was very cute, but a few times I think he was trying to signal me to rescue him, or at least provide him with ear plugs to muffle the sound of his mother talking to him like he would answer if she could just reach the right volume.  I imagined him saying to her calmly, “Yes, goddamnit, I want some EGGS, but can do without the side order of tinnitus.”

This scenario is not limited to annoying people and their human children.  I’ve encountered many many horrible douche bags at the dog park too. One guy gave me a long lecture about how his Portuguese Water dog could make “an actual wage” working as a search and rescue dog…you know…if the guy wanted to train him to be a search and rescue dog.  Another lady gave me a detailed account of how she was suing the owner of the dog who knocked her down two weeks ago and caused her to break her elbow.

The difference between the dog people and the baby people is that the dog people have a singular agenda: to brag about their dog.  They don’t even really notice or care that you happen to also have a dog.  The baby people want to brag about their baby and make sure you understand that their baby is more advanced/smarter/more organic/slept through the night at three days old/memorized Hamlet’s Third Soliloquy before s/he could talk than yours.  Also, they’re a better parent, as evidenced by these skills.

I appreciate how insecure being a parent makes you.  In fact, I think it’s the most insecure I’ve ever felt about anything in my life- including (but not limited to) finding a prom dress, being on the C-Squad softball team when we’re about to win our first game and everything depends on my at bat, and taking the SAT’s for a third time.  Those things only affected me (well me and a softball team about to get their hopes crushed).  Parenthood affects an ever-expanding pool of people: the baby, you and your partner,  grandparents, cousins, close friends, and eventually….society.  So there are a lot of legitimate reasons to be scared that you’re seriously f*cking the whole thing up.

Luckily, Hazel is already an expert at reassuring me.  She smiles hugely when she wakes up in the morning, when I bring her breakfast, when I show her a ceiling fan, ten seconds after falling over and bashing her face, and laughs hysterically at almost any joke you throw at her.  If a parent is only as happy as their unhappiest child, and Tommy Jr (the psychic assures me) is having a good time in the spirit world, Tom and I are in pretty damn good shape.


Happy 9 month Birthday Ms. Beautiful!

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